High Court quashes gun charges against businessman Jimi Wanjigi, judge says police disobeyed orders not to charge him.
Businessman Jimi Wanjigi will not answer to charges relating to seven firearms which were allegedly retrieved from his high-end Muthaiga home.
This is after Justice Pauline Nyamweya quashed the charges against him in a Nyeri court. The judge said the case was prosecuted out of sinister motives.
The 35-page judgment, Justice Nyamweya ruled that the Inspector-General of Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions had abused their office by preferring charges against Mr Wanjigi away from where the crime had been allegedly committed.
While defending their actions, the DPP and the IG explained to the court that they opted to charge Wanjigi in Nyeri as it was his rural home.
However, the businessman explained that he had not been at his village in Nyeri for over a year and it would beat logic to leave courts in Nairobi and its surrounding for the remote court (in Nyeri).
While agreeing with Mr Wanjigi, the judge observed that the DPP and IG’s actions were not only abetting illegality but was unfair to him as it entailed additional expenses and inconveniences.
“By charging the applicant in Nyeri Chief Magistrate’s Court, they violated the applicant’s legitimate expectation that the respondents would follow the correct legal process as set by the law,” the judge ruled.
She continued: “I find that as the first and second respondents (DPP and IG) have been found to have acted in abuse of the court process and in bad faith, and were motivated by extraneous factors in the decisions made to charge and summon the applicant. The applicant (Wanjigi) is entitled to the orders sought to quash the summons and charges.”
The judge also observed that Wanjigi was arrested and charged despite obtaining orders from the High Court barring the State from taking any action against him.
In the case, the police explained that they had obtained search warrants from Milimani law Courts which they served to him. Police Inspector Maxwell Otieno told the court that they found lethal weapons which were not supposed to be held by private citizens.
According to Otieno, they found the weapons in Wanjigi’s kitchen ceiling, which was not a safe place to store them.
Police raided home after guns and bullets were seized at a house in Malindi alleged to be his.
During the siege, the officers sought to arrest him over the discovery and seizure of five rifles and 93 bullets at a villa in Malindi.
They had arrived at his home accompanied by crime busters with sledgehammers planning to break into the house.
Inspector Otieno claimed that Wanjigi’s firearm licence had been revoked for allegedly threatening members of the public using the guns.
Wanjigi was charged on March 1, 2018 with an offence of being in possession of prohibited firearms. His tribulations with the Jubilee administration began when he stood his ground in support for Raila Odinga-led National Super Alliance (NASA) party.
The charges were followed by a road drama when Wanjigi foiled an attempt by a dozen police officers to arrest him in Nairobi when he locked himself in his bullet-proof car.
The officers said to be at least 30 had blocked Wanjigi's Toyota Land Cruiser V8 near Museum Hill but he declined to get out, demanding to know the reason for his arrest.
They tried to force the businessman to open the door in vain. They then mounted an unstamped court summons on his windscreen, informing him he was wanted before a magistrate’s court in Nyeri over a criminal case.
Justice Nyamweya observed that court procedure does not require personal service of summons, more so by more than one police officer.
“The procedure therefore employed by the first respondent (IG) to serve the applicant with the said summons was not only unwarranted, and the use of excessive force during the process was also an abuse of the due process and of their powers,” ruled Justice Nyamweya.